SAME ARGUMENT, DIFFERENT DAY
I am convinced one of the greatest problems that couples face in marriage, whether you have been together 2 years, 20 years or 40 years, is the fact that we have to deal with issues over and over and over…
People get so frustrated when they keep circling around and coming back to the same arguments continuously that never get resolved. Husbands and wives become convinced that there is something wrong with their marriage (or at least the other person) and it can lead to great discouragement.
The truth is, you may have to deal with some of these issues until the day one of you dies. Many couples think that once they’ve hashed something out, it will never come back and cause trouble again. But that’s not the reality. I’ve seen interviews with couples married a long time—like 65 or 75 years—and when they are asked about how and when they resolved their differences, the answer is: They haven’t! They continued to wrestle over the same things all those years later.
That’s life! It’s just the way it is. There will be some things that you continuously have to revisit and it can become exhausting. People can grow very weary and the longer you have been married, the more tiring and discouraging it can be. The danger comes in when one spouse starts to think or say, “I can’t do this anymore.” It implies that you are giving up, that you won’t try, and that you won’t fight for your marriage anymore. That must never be an option. We need to be willing to revisit and clean up the mess… no matter how often it appears.
You don’t clean your house one time and then think that it’s supposed to stay clean and perfect. We realize that the garbage will keep accumulating, the floors will need to be swept again, and the dust will have to be scared off the furniture. Same is true for your marital relationship—you have to continuously take out the trash, deal with the mess and junk, and revisit issues again. Because we are fallible human beings, living in a fallen world, we can mess up repeatedly and we just have to be willing to deal with it.
Wouldn’t it be great if just one discussion with your spouse early in your marriage took care of all the problems and issues that could possibly come along? People live under the delusion that because they have talked about something or tackled it once, that it should be done. But it’s not the way it works. Problems often arise from differences in temperament or just ingrained habits. But honestly, many of the disagreements couples face in marriage have a lot to do with pure selfishness on our parts. And because dying to self is a life-long process, so is dealing with all the stuff that happens in our relationship in the meantime.
Even the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians that “he who marries will have trouble in this life.” Paul knew that being married was fraught with trials. We expect there to be problems in other areas of life like in our jobs, in the church, with our kids, but somehow in marriage we think that there should be a “one-time-fix-all” solution.
Parents will show, explain, teach, and discuss many times some behavior or action they need to fix with their kids. They generally have the perseverance that it takes to stick with raising their offspring and dealing with issues repeatedly. You need to apply that same perseverance to your marriage and keep at it.
Don’t grow weary; don’t give up. Readjust your expectations and know that it’s normal. Maybe you “can’t do this anymore” today… but regroup. Take a deep breath, face the issue again, and remember that it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your marriage because you are arguing about the same thing for the 547th time. Just address the mess, clean it up, and enjoy the “in the meantime” until you have to face it again.